Don’t let the job market ruin your fun The economy is challenging and changing America big time. More and more people are struggling to get a job. The tough job market is leading many people in college to choose more practical majors like finance or accounting instead of majoring in something exciting like acting, music, or cheer-leading. (And yes, you actually can major in cheer-leading at some U.S. universities!) But choosing a dependable major doesn’t always have to mean a boring job. In fact it might actually lead to more exciting positions than those other “fun” majors. All it takes is opening up your mind a little to the possibilities. Take for instance finance – a major which probably stirs up images of button down collars, tight neckties and uncomfortable shoes while toiling away in an office cubicle somewhere crunching numbers for some auditing firm. But that’s your imagination holding you back, not the major. What is the essence of finance – finding money! And every organization on earth from Napster to NASA needs it. The finance biz in showbiz When I first arrived in Hollywood a couple of decades ago as a reporter, I took a different approach to getting on the inside track. Instead of trying to meet the actors, I started schmoozing the CEOs and producers. It worked like gangbusters! And it’s the same way you can get into showbiz – through the biz side of the equation. You can spend a lifetime trying to break in with a million other aspiring actors or directors. Or you can learn a trade that the industry desperately needs, like finance, and very quickly get hired to work on set of a movie or at a production company or a studio. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to make a movie. Do you really think that happens because a bunch of creative crazies get together and say, “let’s go”? From the banks and investment companies that finance movies to the production companies that develop them to the thousands of support companies – they all need financial gurus on board to make the numbers work. Not only that, but just about every big star from Brad Pitt to Jessica Simpson to Snookie needs a personal financial adviser. And if you are one of them, you will not only be on the road to a very exciting career – you will be in the driver’s seat! Glamorous Jobs in Accounting? Accounting is another great major with a whole lot of potential applications. A few years ago I interviewed the accountants who were the only ones to know the identities of the Academy Award Winners before they were announced. For the past 72 years, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entertainment and Media practice has been counting the ballots cast for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Academy Awards. The two partners get to sit backstage and pass out the envelopes with the winners’ names inside. Once a year they are the toast of the town. But the rest of the year isn’t so bad either. They work entirely on movies and TV shows meeting with people like Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood on a daily basis and lunching with them at Hollywood’s choicest spots. Sound like an exciting job? Now add that the average salary for a partner in an accounting firm is about $450,000, and you definitely ramp up the fun factor. Other Exciting Jobs for Not-So-Exciting Majors Technical Majors: Want to work for the CIA? Technical majors like computer science or engineering have the highest acceptance rates into “The Company” and are often recruited to be analysts. Finance and math majors are also sought after. Public Relations: Want to work in the White House – try majoring in marketing or public relations and then get on board with a senator or congressman’s campaign team. Before you know it, you might be sitting pretty with the next President. Economics: Major in economics and you got a pretty good shot at working for the United Nations on one of hundreds of economic global initiatives. The list goes on and on of great jobs for majors that solicit more bore than lure. But the key is to realize finding a good job and a great career has three parts. Yes it’s about finding something you are good at and something you like but a crucial part is finding something that the world needs done. Sometimes that means taking the time to learn a trade that might not seem so exciting right now. But it’s what you do with it and where you go with it that makes it fun. The world is a pretty big place. And if you have basic and needed skills, there are a hundred different roads you can take. Then it’s up to you whether you want to take the road to Hollywood or Hackensack!